LGBTQ+ and Christianity
Love each other as I have loved you.
While the Bible, and religion even more so, can feel rife with contention and controversy, this simple plea from Jesus is anything but.
He asks one thing: for us, His people, to love one another. There is no list of conditions to be met before we are deserving of His love. There is no exception by which we will be excluded. Not race, not creed, not gender, and certainly not by whom we love.
In recent years, the LGBTQ+ community has become more visibly present and celebrated in our society. Given the complicated relationship between the Church and the LGBTQ+ community, this means that as Christians there are many hurdles to face in the spaces where Jesus’s teachings and sexuality meet. Whether you are here looking for validation of your identity or seeking support for your uncertainty, this article is for you. All of us are meant to be loved, are worthy of love, and are capable of giving love the way that Jesus did. Let’s find our way there together.
So you’re gay and...
It can feel like a complex dance of identities to feel simultaneously rooted in two seemingly opposing truths. However, it is not a contradiction to claim membership as a part of the LGBTQ+ community and the Christian community. You know who you are and what you need to feel whole and authentic. You can be a Christian, strong in faith, and nurture a relationship with someone of the same sex.
Unfortunately, that love may be condemned by others who worship alongside you. The language of the Bible, confusing and occasionally contradictory, may be thrown back at you to show you why you don’t belong in the spaces where you have rooted your faith. However, that’s not the way it should be.
There is space for you here. Your heart is pure in your love of God, and there is nothing you must do to be worthy of His love in return. You are welcome here.
Coming out is a scary time for anyone, but if you were raised in the Church or in a home with strong traditional faith, your coming out experience (and every day since) may have been rife with pain. While Jesus taught his followers to love without judgment, Christians are often the first to condemn anyone who is different from them. Rather than making spaces of worship a safe place, Christian attitudes and actions often only further the sense of rejection, discrimination, and trauma that members of the LGBTQ+ community experience simply for attempting to claim their relationship with Jesus.
If this is a part of your story, your pain at the reaction of loved ones or respected members of your religious community is valid and heartbreaking. When you’ve felt the need to walk away from one part of your identity to honor another, mending the fences between them can feel impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. You deserve the time and space to work through those things at your own pace.
Maybe you are feeling a bit confused about how one part of your life fits in with the other aspects of who you are. You may be questioning the expression of your sexuality, gender, or even your religion. Do you want to participate in pride events? What about religious events? Do you want to feel accepted by a church community, or are you simply hoping to come to a comfortable peace in your relationship with God as well as with yourself?
You’ve got lots of questions, and we want to help you find the answers.
So you’re Christian and…
Whether your own interpretation of the bible or someone else's has left you feeling hesitant about the acceptable ways to express and display love, it makes sense that you feel uncomfortable with the crossroads of the two. That’s understandable. However, judgment and love cannot share the same space, as judgment comes from fear, and God tells us that fear and love cannot be present at the same time. To love is to be accepting. We cannot be loving at the same time as being judgmental.
There are a lot of ways to love, not just one another, but ourselves and God, too. It’s difficult to confront your discomfort in the name of a more authentic relationship with God. Jesus was clear in His hope for all of us to love one another as wholly as He loved us- ALL of us!
Sometimes, an about-face in our understanding and interpretation of our faith comes along out of the blue. Other times, it’s sparked by being confronted with our own truth or admission from someone we love. When you have felt one way about LGBTQ+ identities and can sense a shift or questions in how you engage with those feelings, it may be healing to talk with someone who can understand your experience and help you work through it.
For some, there is no question. Love is love, and we strive to love all God’s people just as Jesus loves us. That’s beautiful, and we hope that (opinions aside) every person arrives in this space of peace and truth in their lifetimes. Even once you’re here, you may be seeking more knowledge in your own journey or new ways to support those marginalized or traumatized by others who haven’t arrived there yet.
Where do we go from here?
No matter where you’ve come from or where you’re hoping to end up, we are here for you. At Coastal Light, you will find a welcoming and nurturing space for everyone. Our practice is rooted in faith in the beautiful power of every person to give love authentically and without judgment.
At Coastal Light, we never want you to feel alone or afraid. Whatever you are feeling, you do not have to sit with it in solitude. Within our walls, and in the safety of each telehealth session, we seek to emulate the “come as you are” philosophy of Jesus for everybody.